Monday, January 23, 2017

Magazine of the Moment x Stack | The Exposed

It's hardly breaking news around this here blog that I am a magazine fiend. Over the past year, I have found so much joy through documenting magazines that have caught both my attention and my heart. It was with much exhilaration, therefore, to be told by Stack that I won a year's worth of magazines.

Stack Magazines is a subscription based service that aims to increase awareness of all the incredible independent magazines from all corners of the globe. In signing up for a subscription, readers are never sure of what they'll receive until the selected magazine comes through the mail. It sounds a risky concept, but I can tell Steve, the director, and his team are deeply passionate about the best quality magazines; whether it derives from spectacular editorial content or magazines which stretch the limits of print publishing.

The magazine that arrived this month fits the latter description. The Exposed is based in Copenhagen but takes contributions from all over the world. The unique thing about this magazine is that, upon first impressions, you may be inclined to question whether it is a magazine at all. Aside from the editor's letter, it contains very minimal text (the only text used is for the purpose of article titles and captains). 'Reading' The Exposed is unlike any other magazine related experience I have encountered. As seen in the Vimeo clip, readers engage with stories through video and audio, all made possible through the magazine's app.

It's the closest thing (that I know of) to the interactive print publications more likely found in magical realms (ie. The Daily Prophet in Harry Potter). But while this may imply gimmickry, The Exposed avoids it entirely. The use of video and audio to tell stories is not just quirky experimentation. Rather, the articles are carefully composed. Breaks between each image and video/audio accompaniment allow for deeper contemplation. As Steven notes, The Exposed is something like an 'embellished podcast', a 'gallery installation' or even a guided tour of cities and museums which situate participants into the cultural landscapes behind the stories. The accompaniment of visual and aural media with images stimulates highly immersive experiences. Two pieces which stood out to me were 'People of Pattern', which explores the intrinsic link between textiles and humanity, and  'Besides Faith', an examination of religious goods, clothing, iconography and the lucrative business behind them.

Stack has set the bar high with their first magazine of 2017. The Exposed is an exciting and innovative example of what the future of print and digital media holds. It is certainly comforting to know that the advance of digital media does not necessarily signal the death of print. If anything, The Exposed proves they can not only coexist, but also collaborate with one another, without sacrificing the credibility and importance of either medium.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

On Comparison, Ambition and the Race Against Time

As the old saying goes, comparison truly is the thief of joy. And never have I felt it more than I do now as a young adult.

In the most recent issue of Womankind, a particular article struck a chord. In her piece titled 'How do you measure your life?', Madeleine Dore opens by explaining:

'When I discover work I admire - be it a novel, a film, a project, or an installation - I'm obsessed with mapping out the owner's career trajectory and gathering clues as to how old they were during various life and career achievements'.

As an inherently ambitious individual, I'm always looking for ways to improve my skills and career opportunities. But there's something so distinctly disheartening about finding someone within your age bracket who is killing it in their field and at the top of their game. In such situations, I too become obsessed with how they got to where they are and how I can mimic their path to greatness. All of a sudden, I feel insecure about my own achievements. These people, whoever they may be, were miles ahead at the age I am now, whereas I feel like I have barely a foot off the ground. And while I know it is ridiculous and totally untrue, I fall into the trap of thinking if I'm not at a certain point in my life by a certain age, then I'll fall victim to constantly lagging behind. Because when there are people who are my age, heck, even younger for that matter, with so much more experience than me, why would an employer employ/promote me over them? The next ten years seem shorter than they really are and everything becomes a race against time.

While it's good to be ambitious and gather clues on how to achieve my goals by taking inspiration from others, I simply must put an end to the exhausting cycle of worrying about where I am now and where I want to be; and by extension, lamenting how I am so far behind *everyone* else. Dore again explains it so eloquently:

'I am forever delaying my ability to feel at ease with my lot in life, instead constantly mulling over whether I have made the right decision, the right connection, or chosen the right path. I'm forever moving the goalpost further along in what is already an impossible-to-reach idealised version of myself'.

One of my greatest fears is not living up to the high potential I set for myself. After years of feeling the pressure of doing better and being the best, I realised that this pressure was almost entirely self-inflicted. As true as it is that society constantly reminds us of the 'ticking clock' to achieve certain things by certain times, I'm solely responsible for believing in the lie and letting my apparent 'ineptitude' of experience define me. January has been an important time to reflect on the fact that just because other people may be in a different place to where I am right now, it doesn't mean I won't accomplish things in the future, in my own way.

Life shouldn't be a race against time, a race against other people or a race against yourself. It should be taken within your stride, at your own pace and with your head held high. Some of us may not know where we're headed, but we can sure as hell enjoy the process along the way.

Image via Pinterest

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wonderful Wednesday 09

I really let Wonderful Wednesday fall to the wayside the past few weeks, but I'm keen to get it back up and running! This is the first Wonderful Wednesday of 2017 and thinking about it, 2017 has been pretty darn good so far. Let's hope it continues as such!

Here are some wonderful things...

Walks along the beach. We've had a spate of hot days lately so escaping to the beach for an hour or so is such a treat. Even just strolling along the shores and letting the waves kiss my ankles is enough to cool me down. I feel so lucky to have it all on my doorstep and really hope frequent beach trips continue.
Lazy evenings spent reading in my room. The featured photo was taken on a particularly blissful evening spent reading The Lesser Bohemians while the light of the setting sun filtered through my window. As hot as it can get this time of year, it's all worth it for relaxed balmy evenings.

Winning a year worth of Stack. This happened just before 2017 rolled around, but I thought it was worthy of a mention. Stack is a magazine subscription service which delivers independent magazines to your door once a month. The catch is that you don't know what the magazine will be until you open it yourself. Being magazine obsessive, I had my eyes on Stack for ages and kept thinking I would justify splurging on a subscription once I got a proper job. Winning a year long subscription is the most wonderful treat for the New Year and it means I'll always have something to look forward to. I'm also excited to review each issue on here, so keep an eye out for that.

Summer fruits. All I can say is that I am eating peaches and raspberries as if my life depended on it at the moment! Summer fruits are my absolute favourites and are made even better mixed together as a salad.

Catching up with friends. As ever, this is always a wonderful thing. January is always busy with social happenings with everyone on break from University. 

My Bullet Journal. After months of planning and testing on scrap pieces of paper, I decided to invest in a coveted Leuchtturm1917 journal and commit to bullet journalling. Verdict? NO REGRETS! I feel so much more organised having everything in one notebook while also having a creative outlet. Drawing up my weekly spreads has become one of my favourite things to do as it provides a much needed moment of calm and focus when life gets stressful. I'll be sure to post a bullet journal overview and how I'm managing it as a beginner soon for anyone else who may be interested. 

Get an added dose of wonderfulness with other ‘Wonderful Wednesdays’ posts found all over the bloggersphere. Check out creator of 'Wonderful Wednesday' Sally Tangle along with posts by Jo, Helen,Michelle, Sarah, Kate, Cat, Sam, ElKerri, Jasmin and Lynsey.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Inspiring Artists | Berndnaut Smilde Nimbus Collection

When you think of clouds, what is the first picture that comes to mind: those dark and foreboding clusters heavy with rain, eclipsing the sunlight? Or do you think of those that are pure white, like cotton wool, against a perfectly pale blue sky?

Ever since discovering artist Berndnaut Smilde, I haven't imagined them as either. Instead, I'm haunted by the ghostly, illuminated wisps of white which hover in empty chapels, warehouses and castles. His collection of photographs of man made clouds are ephemeral; both disconcerting and inviting, they present a duality between being 'ominous and divine'. (ref)

Image 1: Nimbus Cukurcuma Hamam I, 2012 Image 2: Nimbus Portland Place, 2014 Image 3: Nimbus LOT, 2013

Monday, January 2, 2017

Just Write

Over the years, I have composed the odd list or two of New Years Resolutions. I always say I won't, but then at the last minute, I get caught up in the hype and the hope that a 'fresh start' brings, and I haphazardly put together a long list of things I'd like to achieve and areas I'd like to improve. Some I have stuck to, some I haven't. This year, I have a clearer idea of my goals, although I am unsure about how to approach a number of them.

For areas such as career or even the tempting possibility of further study, I still feel like I'm left in the dark with no idea about what to even do. I feel like they fall under the 'take each challenge as they come' category and as such, I have resolved not to worry so incessantly about the future.

But there is one particular area where I have concrete goals and it is something that had been on my mind the last two months of 2016. I really want to commit myself to writing. I don't have ambitious plans to pen a novel or anything like that. I simply want to maintain a momentum with my writing in general. Looking back, I realised that it is something I have always done. As a child, I wrote and drew up my own storybooks. At 14, I started my first blog. When I got a bit older, I took on freelance projects, which continued for three solid years until it all kind of fell to the wayside half-way through this year. I still continued to journal while abroad and rediscovered my love of blogging once I returned home, but my lack of commitment to freelance writing made me feel like I'd lost a part of myself.

Writing is something that can always be a constant in my life. At University, it was a much needed creative outlet that relieved me of the stresses of study. While traveling, it helped validate all the amazing things I was seeing and doing; I didn't feel right until I had written a daily or weekly recap of my adventures. Finally, during the end of 2016, writing kept me afloat while I struggled with the general uncertainties that come with life after University. I am particularly proud and so glad I not only attempted, but completed Blogmas in December, as it had me feeling the most motivated and creative I have felt in a long while.

Writing is a huge part of who I am and I can't imagine life without it, because the periods of time in which I haven't kept up a consistent routine correlate with the more stressful, sad and frustrated moments.

Irrespective of what happens this year, I find a sense of comfort in knowing that I can have total control over this one aspect of my life, as long as I stick to it and constantly work on ways to better my writing. After much thought, I came up with five focus areas which pinpoint both how I will go about keeping up my writing and the areas I want to improve.

1. Write something every week in your journal (even if it's bad!)
2. Write one freelance piece a month. Topics can be food, art, travel, opinion pieces or whatever takes your fancy. Even if you don't end up submitting your work, commit yourself to this once monthly task anyway.
3. Write one nice thing that happened in your day, every single day
4. Actually properly read (rather than skim) long form book reviews, think pieces, essays etc. they are worthy of your time! Note down things you like about the reviews and how you can improve your own critiques.
5. Most importantly, keep up your blog!

Happy New Year and all the best with your resolutions, goals and intentions! May 2017 be full of personal achievements.

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